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I want my child to speak French!

Sep 11, 2020

You're not alone. There are many reasons you might want your child to learn French – your kid will be more imaginative, able to solve problems more easily, be able to travel easily in the French-speaking world, and have a broader range of professional options as an adult - the list goes on and oni. Luckily for you, and for your child, we live in a bilingual city in a bilingual country and opportunities abound!  

But if you're aren't fluently bilingual yourself, it can feel daunting to begin.

Here is a list of some of the many reasons I, personally, put it off. Which is a parenting decision I now regret: 

  • It's easier to leave language learning to teachers, once they start school 

  • They should learn from someone who is a native speaker 

  • They don't want me to speak French to them 

  • They don't understand what I'm saying 

  • I'm embarrassed – I have a foreign accent and make mistakes 

The good news, for me (and for you!) is that it is never too late to teach or to learn. Yes, starting earlier is better, but even adults gain benefits from picking up a second language.

So, to you, I say: 

  • Yes, you can leave it until school, but starting now will give them a confidence boost and a head start for when they start learning French at school. 

  • Yes, learning from a native speaker is best, but we don't live in a perfect world. C'est la vie. 

  • Yes, you have an accent – so does everybody else, no matter what language they speak. 

  • Yes, they are resistant, but they also don't want to wash their hands before they eat or willingly go to sleep at night. Just as you do with those things, you can make language learning fun (because it is!) and make it part of your daily routine. 

  • Yes, they won't understand you. Let's be honest, they don't always understand you in English. That's why they are learning. Use synonyms, repeat yourself, keep at it. 

  • Yes, you might make mistakes – you are showing your child that mistakes are a part of learning. 

Great, so now that we've put your resistance to bed, we can talk about library resources that will help you on this journey … even if you only have very rusty grade-school French.  

Click here for resources to help you before your child starts school.

Click here for resources for school-aged children.